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COUNTERWEIGHT by Djuna
Translated by Anton Hur
In South Korea, Djuna is both legend and enigma. For years they have blazed at the forefront of the country’s science fiction scene without revealing anything about their identity - real name, age, gender. Nada. Indeed, if it weren’t for translator Anton Hur’s assurance to me on Twitter that Djuna “probably qualifies” for #WITMonth, I’d have waited a couple of weeks. Alas, I’m terrible with delayed gratification so, I guess, here we are.
Mac is a cop for the LK Corporation, a giant conglomerate that buys up countries to further its corporate goals. Core to its mission is a giant space elevator, nearing completion on the island of Patusan. Counterweight opens with a thwarted terrorist attack by the Patusan Liberation Front. Suspects emerge, only to prove composite figments of a corporate imagination. A lowly operatives is found to possess the implanted memories of LK’s founder. LK itself gains sentience through AI. Conspiracies abound. With Mac as our cynical guide, Djuna hits hard on some big philosophical questions, scratching at our collective neuroses about mortality, technology, corporate expansionism and the frightening potential of artificial intelligence. It’s challenging but great, propulsive fun, right up there with Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem.
Counterweight by Djuna (Tr. Anton Hur)